An act relating to access to information technology. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky




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UNOFFICIAL COPY AS OF 02/29/16 00 REG. SESS. 00 RS BR 2758

AN ACT relating to access to information technology.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

SECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 61 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) The General Assembly finds that:

(a) The advent of the information age throughout the United States and around the world has resulted in lasting changes in information access and technology;

(b) Use of interactive video display terminals and other forms of electronic information access (audio, graphic, and text) by state and state assisted organizations is becoming a widespread means of access for employees and the public to obtain information available electronically, but the use of assistive technology for alternative access, especially that of nonvisual access whether by speech, Braille, or other appropriate means have been overlooked in purchasing and deploying the latest information technology;

(c) Presentation of electronic data solely in a visual format or without an alternative means of access is a barrier to access by individuals who are disabled, including those who are blind or visually impaired, or who are deaf and hard of hearing, preventing them from participating on equal terms in major life activities, such as education and employment;

(d) Assistive technology including both software and hardware adaptations, has been created so that interactive control of computers and use of information presented is possible by both visual and nonvisual means; and

(e) The goals of the Commonwealth in obtaining and deploying the most advanced forms of information technology properly include universal access so that segments of society with special needs, including individuals unable to use visual displays, will not be excluded from the information age.

(2) All programs and activities that are supported in whole or in part by public funds shall be conducted in accordance with the following principles:

(a) Individuals with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise disabled shall have the right to full participation in life in the Commonwealth, including the use of advanced technology that is provided by the state or state-assisted organizations for use by employees, program participants, and members of the general public; and

(b) Technology purchased in whole or part with funds provided by the Commonwealth to be used to create, store, retrieve, or disseminate information and intended for use by employees, program participants, and members of the general public shall be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or otherwise disabled.

SECTION 2. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 61 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

As used in Sections 1 to 5 of this Act:

(1) "Access" means the ability to receive, use, and manipulate data and operate controls included in information technology to be in compliance with nationally accepted accessibility and usability standards such as those established by Section 225 of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Section 508 of the Federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998;

(2) "Individual with a disability" means an individual who is considered to have a disability for the purpose of any federal or state law, and who is or would be able by information access assistive technology to maintain a level of functioning or to achieve a greater level of functioning in any major life activity;

(3) "Blind or visually impaired individual" means an individual who:

(a) Has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses or has a limited field of vision so that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than twenty (20) degrees;

(b) Has a medically indicated expectation of visual deterioration; or

(c) Has a medically diagnosed limitation in visual functioning that restricts the individual's ability to read and write standard print at levels expected of individuals of comparable ability;

(4) "Covered entity" means the state or any state-assisted organization;

(5) "Deaf" or "hard of hearing" means persons who have hearing disorders and includes people who cannot hear and understand speech clearly through the ear alone, with or without hearing aids;

(6) "Information technology" means all electronic information processing hardware and software, including but not limited to telecommunications and any electronic information equipment or interconnected system that is used in the acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of audio, video, graphics and text;

(7) "Assistive technology" means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, customized, fabricated, or is otherwise an alternative means that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities;

(8) "Nonvisual" means output methods not requiring sight, including but not limited to synthesized speech and Braille;

(9) "State" means the Commonwealth of Kentucky or any of its departments, agencies, public bodies, or other instrumentalities;

(10) "State-assisted organization" means a college, university, nonprofit organization, person, political subdivision, school system, or other entity supported in whole or in part by state funds;

(11) "Telecommunications" means the transmission of information, images, pictures, voice, or data by radio, video, or other electronic or impulse means; and

(12) "Undue burden" means unreasonable difficulty or expense associated with technical feasibility.

SECTION 3. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 61 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

The head of each covered entity shall ensure that information technology equipment and software used by the entity's employees, program participants, and the general public:

(1) Provide individuals with disabilities, including blind or visually impaired, or deaf or hard of hearing, with access, including but not limited to interactive use of equipment and services, that is equivalent to the access provided individuals who are not disabled, blind or visually impaired, or deaf or hard of hearing;

(2) Are designed to present information, including but not limited to prompts used for interactive communication, in formats intended for both visual and nonvisual use; and

(3) Have been purchased under a contract that includes the technology access clause required by Section 4 of this Act.

SECTION 4. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 61 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

The Finance and Administration Cabinet shall develop a technology access clause which shall be in compliance with Section 255 of the Federal Telecommunication Act of 1996 and with Section 508 of the Federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and shall establish alternative, including nonvisual, access standards for use in the procurement of information technology by covered entities in accordance with the following requirements:

(1) The technology access clause shall require compliance with the nonvisible access standards established under this section. Except as otherwise provided in Section 5 of this Act, the technology access clause shall be included in all contracts entered into after the effective date of this Act for the procurement of information technology by, or for the use of, covered entities.

(2) The alternative and nonvisual access standards shall include the specifications necessary to meet the requirements of Section 3 of this Act. The standards shall include the following minimum specifications:

(a) Effective, interactive control and use of technology, including the operating system, applications programs, and format of the data presented shall be readily achievable by alternative and nonvisual means;

(b) The technology equipped for alternative and nonvisual access shall be compatible with information technology used by other individuals with whom the person with a disability, including the blind or visually impaired individual, must interact;

(c) Alternative and nonvisual access technology shall be integrated into networks used to share communications among employees, program participants, and the public; and

(d) The technology for alternative or nonvisual access shall have the capability of providing equivalent access by nonvisual of other alternative means to telecommunications or other interconnected network services used by persons who are not disabled.

SECTION 5. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 61 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) For the purpose of effectively phasing in nonvisual access technology procurement, the head of any covered entity may, with respect to nonvisual access software or peripheral devices and other assistive technology pertinent to individuals with disabilities access to information technology obtained during the three (3) years immediately following the effective date of this Act, approve the exclusion of the technology access clause if the cost of the software or peripheral devices or other assistive technology for the covered entity presents an undue financial or administrative burden.

(2) The head of any covered entity shall not approve the exclusion of the technology access clause from any contract with respect to:

(a) The compatibility of standard operating systems and software with nonvisual access or other assistive software, peripheral devices, or any assistive technology; or

(b) The initial design, development, and installation of information systems, including the design and procurement of interactive equipment and software.

(3) Nothing in this section shall require the installation of software or peripheral devices for nonvisual or alternative access if the information technology is being used by individuals who are not blind, visually impaired, or otherwise disabled. However, the applications programs and underlying operating system, including the format of the data, used for the manipulation and presentation of information shall permit the installation and effective use of nonvisual access software and peripheral devices.

(4) Information technology purchased prior to the effective date of this Act shall be brought into compliance with Sections 1 to 5 of this Act when the covered entity upgrades or replaces the existing equipment or software. Nothing in Sections 1 to 5 of this Act shall be construed or interpreted to require the replacement or upgrade of existing equipment or software.

SECTION 6. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 61 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

Any person injured by a violation of Sections 1 to 5 of this Act may bring an action for injunctive relief in the Circuit Court of the county in which the person resides or in which the covered entity is located. An action for injunctive relief shall be commenced within four (4) years after the cause of action accrues. A cause of action for a continuing violation of Sections 1 to 5 of this Act shall accrue at the time of the latest occurrence of the violation.


Page of

BR275800.100-2758




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